Sunday , December 3 2023
Every member of the staff faces demons as the angel of death is revealed.

TV Review: General Hospital: Night Shift – “Employee of the Month”

For the doctors, nurses, and staff of General Hospital, the Night Shift has been a tenuous, emotional, and sometimes scary place to work. Often the doctors find themselves bound by the new order imposed by Dr. Ford, who is only trying to protect the hospital from a takeover by the HMO MedCam. At other time times they find themselves vulnerable to their own emotions when they see how their own lives run parallel to those of their patients, but for one student nurse her place on the night shift, and in medicine in general, has been a grand design to hold doctors accountable for the god complex she perceives they all have.

Dr. Robin Scorpio, in the aftermath of Stacy’s death, made the decision to put the wheels in motion to adopt Stacy’s orphaned child. She named the baby Anna after her mother. Patrick tried to convince her to take a step back and take time to process her grief before making a decision that will forever change their relationship, but she refuses to be swayed and to an extent I think by accepting the child, he felt as though she was abandoning him. Of course, student nurse Layla was available to lend an ear, a shoulder, and a comforting touch at the episode’s end when he had fled to the roof.

The latest test Dr. Julian ran on Maxie Jones indicated she had an abscess on her heart, and needed surgery – a surgery he refused to perform. His early actions with Maxie and her stepfather Mac had me wondering if the young doctor wasn’t developing feelings for his patient, which seemed confirmed when student nurse Regina’s impassioned speech changed his mind. In the operating room, however, he froze and began to flash back to a surgery where he lost a patient.

Just moments before the surgery, Dr. Archer is shaken awake from one of his anesthesia-induced naps – one in which the mysterious angel of death has upped the dosage. Still foggy, he intubates Maxie’s esophagus. As she starts to suffocate on the table, Dr. Julian is shaken from his own demons and steps up to save the day and his patient. After the surgery is over, both Dr. Julian and Dr. Lee call Dr. Archer out on his addiction to anesthesia, though Andy quickly reminds Kelly she has little room to talk about addictions.

All of the mixups, some resulting in death, have left a wide opening for MedCam to begin its takeover of the hospital, and Dr. Ford finds himself meeting with the HMO’s attorney Mr. Lovell. As they meet the ‘angel’ is yet again striking the hospital, changing an IV bag for Maxie that sends her into a cardiac crisis.

Meanwhile, Lainey escorted her father, who is having another attack, back into the emergency room. He was confused, combative, and refusing treatment, asking for Dr. Detwiler, who we soon learn was a one-time fiancé of Lainey. When Patrick can’t get close enough to him to do his examination, Lainey notices a physical resemblance between her former boyfriend and Stan and begs him to try and get her father to calm down. Stan is resistant at first, but eventually agrees and is successful. Patrick learns he is suffering more TIAs and insists if he doesn’t operate soon, her father will have a massive stroke.

Dr. Ford continues to refuse the surgery to the patient because of his advanced Alzheimer’s. When Patrick challenged him and the decision, we saw for the first time just how upset Dr. Ford was that running the hospital had become less about helping people than it was about preventing the HMO takeover. “If you think it’s bad now, let MedCam take over and see where we’re at,” he challenged Dr. Drake.

Meanwhile, in the morgue, Mr. Lowell met with his person on the inside and it was revealed to the viewing audience that student nurse Jolene Crowell is the angel of death. As we saw flashbacks of all the incidents, including her putting the drug in Mrs. Storch’s IV and throwing a glass of water on the elevator circuit board, Jolene gave a passionate speech about how the doctors walked around the hospital accountable to no one and holding precious life in their hands with little regard, obviously she blames the hospital, more than she let on to Spinelli in a previous episode, for her father’s death.

In direct contrast as the episode came to a close, Epiphany stepped in to help Stan who was being questioned by a patient about her medications and had mistaken him for a doctor since he was still in the white coat he had worn to help Lainey. While he braced himself for another verbal smack-down from his mother, she instead told him he had done what he could to help someone who needed it. “Sometime you do something simply because it’s the right thing to do,” she said before retrieving the wrapped gift she had nervously hesitated giving Toussaint throughout the episode. With a firm determination we’ve grown to love Epiphany for, she marched over and gave him the gift with a smile and congratulations.

Toussaint opened the package to find an employee of the month plaque. With the trademark laugh and smile we’ve come to expect from the janitor who is part of the hospital’s soul, he nodded his appreciation to the nurse and went back about his work. When Stan asked if they even had an employee of the month before, she simply answered, “We do now.”

As we move next week into episode 9 of 13, surely the MedCam crisis will step up in urgency as Jolene will do whatever it takes to ensure their takeover of the hospital. I’m sure the crisis in Patrick and Robin’s relationship revolving around Stacy’s baby will also rush to a climax. The question becomes how the doctors, nurses, and staff will handle each event. Is there a truth to the god complex Jolene perceives exists in the hospital or is she too caught in her own grief to see the truth? We’ll have to keep watching to find out. (Two previews for next week’s episode follow.)

Preview of Next Week’s Night Shift:

“Scrubs” Preview for Next Week’s Night Shift:

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